India May Have As Many As 4000 ‘Fake’ Pilots

India’s Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) says 4000 pilot licenses are under fresh scrutiny after the airline watchdog started scanning several pilots on grounds of faking marksheet back in 2011 to get a pilot license and violating landing norms.

It all began, says a report in local media then, after Parminder Kaur Gulati, a suspended pilot of Indigo airline, was arrested on charges of faking her marksheet to get a pilot license. Another arrest on the same grounds has been made. This time around, Captain J K Verma, a pilot of the national carrier Air India has been arrested.

Verma was arrested and investigations were made. “We have been provided more names by the DGCA. The scanner is on two more pilots – Meenakshi Sehgal of Indigo and Swaran Singh Talwar of MDLR,” a senior police official said.

The report had quoted country’s Civil Aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi saying, “In the wake of the fake pilot scare, licenses of 3,000 to 4,000 pilots are being scrutinized by the DGCA.”

To get a license in India to fly, a pilot has to clear three subjects. “But in Gulati’s case, a probe by the DGCA showed she couldn’t clear two papers, so she allegedly forged the marksheets.”

‘Fake’ license issue is not new. It still remains on the burner, says an expert.

According to Vinod Kannan –an airline executive, the coronavirus pandemic is a “black swan” event.

The South Asian country’s highly lucrative domestic air travel market is also taking a hit as economists say India is no longer staring at a recession but a ‘depression’.

That means lesser domestic travels and revenue for the industry, an observer says.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India.